WACO, Texas: While most homes and businesses have recovered from February’s freak winter storm that shut down the state for almost a week, a handful of shops at the River Square Center in downtown Waco are still working to re-open.
Back on February 19, a pipe burst in the building, allowing water to pour down on the tenant businesses.
“In here, it was just raining from the ceiling and it was already ankle deep,” Oh My Juice owner Denitia Blount said.
The water took its toll on their product.
“It rained on probably half of our store,” Roots Boutique co-owner Brooke Erbe said. “Probably 50% of our clothing and merchandise were all damaged.”
After being told the building would be back to normal in two weeks, Blount and Erbe are still looking ahead at re-opening over three months later.
“We saw it being at least a month, maybe two, but we’re now three and a half months in and we never thought it would be this long,” Erbe said. “It’s a process when you undergo something like this.”
Sitting in the downtown area, these businesses rely heavily on foot traffic, especially in the comfortable spring months.
After the COVID-19 pandemic shut down businesses last year and with the water damage this year, they have missed out on two spring seasons in a row.
“It’s been hard to see our customers walk up to the door and turn them away,” Erbe said. “That’s been a frustrating pill to swallow sometimes.”
While the renovations have forced the businesses to physically connect by gutting the walls, the owners say they are connected in other ways.
“We share walls with two different businesses and, because of that, there’s just been a lot of camaraderie, there’s been a lot of cheering each other on,” Blount said. “They’ve been some of my biggest cheerleaders and I’m really thankful for them.”
Naturally, they are all looking forward to opening their doors for good.
“I’m most excited about just re-opening and having our customers here again,” Erbe said.